Significant grant awarded to save curlew from local extinction

The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) has agreed a £75,000 grant to help restore the breeding curlew population in Southern England. The grant has been awarded to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s (WWT) ‘Combating the Curlew Crisis Project’, which forms part of the WWT’s overall Eurasian curlew recovery work. This project focuses on securing the breeding population in the Severn and Avon Vales. The aim is to see the curlew’s local breeding population increase to 50 pairs in five years’ time. The money will cover funds for a project officer to provide engagement with local communities including farmers and land managers, and the monitoring of released birds.   The WHCT, set up by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) in 1992, provides grants to help support and maintain Special Protections Areas and undertake research for the public benefit in the conservation of wildlife. Paul Williamson, secretary of the WHCT, said: “The plight of the curlew in Southern England is well documented, without the necessary help they could easily become extinct. This project will not only counter the decline in the region, but the lessons learnt will help provide a model to protect the species nationally. “Our support and belief in this project has led us to award the WWT with the one of the largest grants ever given by the Trust, and we are excited to see it progress.” Geoff Hilton, Head of Conservation Evidence for WWT, said: “We welcome this grant, along with others, to ensure we can continue our vital work to protect curlews in the Severn and Avon Vales.  “Curlews should be considered the UK's most urgent bird conservation priority. Britain holds a quarter of the world’s curlew breeding population, but the species currently faces regional extinction. This important project sets out to help counteract this threat. By working with local land managers to adapt habitat to help curlew thrive during the breeding season, the project also creates wildlife friendly wetland habitat for a range of species.” ENDS… Notes to Editors: The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) provides habitat conservation grant support to national and international projects. The WHCT was set up by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), to be shooting’s conservation charity. For more information on the WHCT please visit: http://www.wht.org.uk/ The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) Wetlands are essential for all life, including humankind and yet they are disappearing three times faster than forests. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a conservation charity working to save wetlands globally and in the UK for wildlife, people and our planet.  WWT runs ten reserves across the UK, managing 3000 hectares of the best wetland habitat in the UK, and providing inspirational experiences to encourage people to value wetlands and the amazing wildlife they support.  To find out more visit wwt.org.uk.

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BASC bird boxes take flight

From outreach work with schools, to generating cross-party support in parliament, BASC's bird box project continues to go from strength-to-strength.  

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BASC to build bird boxes virtually with Suffolk schools

Pupils at 45 schools across Suffolk will have flat-packed bird boxes waiting for them when they return following the latest lockdown courtesy of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). BASC has put the packs together and will help teachers and pupils assemble the boxes and put them up via two pre-recorded videos. The boxes have been provided as part of a project that BASC is involved in which is aimed at bringing the countryside to children in primary schools across Suffolk. Outreach Outdoors was launched by the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA), with support from BASC, after the cancellation of the SAA’s School Farm and Country Fair last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ray Goodman, spokesman for SAA, said: “Cancelling the 2020 fair meant around 4,500 children were not able to benefit from the ‘hands-on’ experience of food, farming and country pursuits which have made the event such a great success for the past two decades. “So we have adapted our ways of working and instead will be bringing a celebration of the countryside direct to primary school children in their classrooms in 2021.” Terry Behan, BASC’s director for the East of England, said the boxes would provide an important habitat for songbirds around the schools, where pupils would be able to observe them and take part in species counts in the future. He said: “In a time of need we have come together to create an informative engaging lesson for the children of 45 schools.  The lesson will get the children out in the fresh air whilst learning about the importance of conservation.” Curtis Mossop, BASC’s head of pathways to shooting, added: “Hundreds of children will return to the classroom this spring to find a BASC bird box, in kit form, ready for them to build with their teachers with the help of the pre-recorded BASC videos. The Outreach Outdoors project is a fantastic example of the collaborative relationship between BASC and the Suffolk Agricultural Association to provide fun, conservation themed engagement opportunities for children in the region.” For more information on the project and to book, click here. ENDS

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